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Posts Tagged ‘Sarah Palin’

The Best of 2008, 2: Web Video and Music

December 31st, 2008 | Jonathan Gray

Continuing with my Best Of 2008:

Web Video

10. “Too Drunk to Fuck.” I had my vid watching orgy in late 2007, but one of Luminosity’s 2008 offerings helps explain visually why Family Guy will never rival The Simpsons: Lisa and Marge are just so much better than FG‘s women.

9. “Talk to Your Parents About Voting Republican.” I’ve already posted about this, in the context of its political message, but I’m also a fan of its parodic attack on the earnestness of Talk to Your Kids videos that assume older people know better.

8. “Piece of Me.” Obsessive24’s vid about Britney Spears is excellent, and a 3m21 essay on celebrity exploitation and obsession.

7. Fox News Calls Ohio. I saw this after the fact, but it’s a sweet moment, as Brit Hume and Karl Rove see the writing on the wall, and Lurch delivers the news to the bald master of evil.

6. “Yes We Can.” Will.i.am’s video defined viral, and though I still laugh at its inclusion of some pretty C rate celebs (“hey look, there’s Ashley from Fresh Prince of Bel Air!”), it laid down a gauntlet to Obama’s contenders that they’d have to deliver online. They didn’t, and they lost.

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Authoring the Candidate from the Paratextual Margins: Tina Fey’s Sarah Palin

October 5th, 2008 | Jonathan Gray

This coming week, I’m off to the Flow Conference in Austin, TX. I’m on a panel about women in comedy, and my primary interest lay in discussing women in animation. But I’ve been wanting to talk about Tina Fey and her excellent Palin impression instead. And so I thought I’d write on that topic latter here.

Let’s start by making something clear. I am not a fan of Saturday Night Live. Most of its humor is tepid and puerile. They might have a funny nugget, but it’s five seconds worth of a five minute skit. SNL has had some funny people, yes, but they’re nearly always considerably funnier off the show. Also, while I’m sure its defenders will point out some of its fantastic skits over the years, and while I too think they’ve had some brilliant moments, their failure to success ratio is huge.

More specifically, I have a beef with SNL‘s fans who misuse the word “satire,” by suggesting that many of the show’s rather lame impressions are in any way satirical. Dana Carvey did a good George H. W. Bush, but there was no satire. Fred Armisen’s Obama isn’t even good, let alone satirical. Satire scholar George Test notes that satire must have play, aggression, laughter, and judgment, and too often SNL lacks all but play. I could put on a dress and say I’m Laura Bush, but that wouldn’t make it satire. Perhaps the best test of an impressionist’s satiric skill is whether the person being impersonated would be offended or uncomfortable watching it; if yes, bravo.

But Tina Fey’s recent impression of Palin is a refreshing change of pace for SNL. As a result, she’s become what a good satirical impression should be: a nasty, unshakeable paratext hanging around the candidate’s official appearances, and standing between the citizen-viewer and the candidate. I don’t think it’s too much of an exaggeration to say that Tina Fey is, right now, the most socially relevant and important comedian on television because of her impression.

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